The Sierra Club, founded in 1892, is one of the oldest conservation organizations in existence. (You can read more about it in the overview of the modern environmental movement.) With over 1.3 million members, this organization is one of the most effective and powerful at effecting changes in government and corporate America. Fighting for the preservation of land and forest, clean air and water, and a host of other issues, the Sierra Club is well-known and respected.
The Audubon Society’s declared mission is “to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity” and since the late 1800s the organization has worked hard to achieve its mission. Interestingly, the original John Audubon, who created the foremost guide to North American birds, was not the founder, but did inspire the organization’s founders, namelyGeorge Bird Grinnell. Today bird conservation and Audubon are practically synonymous.
The iconic panda logo has made the WWF instantly recognizable to many people around the world. With 5 million members internationally and over 1.2 million in the States, this 45-year-old wildlife defense organization is going h2. h2ly promoting an emphasis on science, the WWF works to preserve nature and its creatures. From the organization’s website: “We are committed to reversing the degradation of our planet’s natural environment and to building a future in which human needs are met in harmony with nature. We recognize the critical relevance of human numbers, poverty and consumption patterns to meeting these goals.”
Famously unapologetic, EarthFirst! came to national prominence in the 1990s. EarthFirst! is a little different. There’s no slick website. There’s no bureacracy. There are no members. They welcome any and all. The entire premise of this biocentric “movement” as it calls itself is to foster direct action. Founded in 1979 out of disgust at corporate environmentalism and “namby pamby” green action, EarthFirst!ers have famously gotten involved in green issues directly, sometimes breaking the law. Calling itself a priority, not an organization, the website explains: “Earth First! has survived attacks by moderates, would-be leaders and the agents of the system, remaining the most diverse, passionate, committed, and uncompromising group of environmental activists. Our direct actions in defense of the last wild places only seem radical compared to an entire paradigm of denial and control, where the individual is convinced they are powerless, and the organizations set up to protect the wilderness continue to bargain it away.”